un·der·world | \ ˈən-dər-ˌwərld \

Definition of underworld 

1 : the place of departed souls : hades

2 archaic : earth

3 : the side of the earth opposite to one : antipodes

4 : a social sphere below the level of ordinary life the town's seedy underworld especially : the world of organized crime

Examples of underworld in a Sentence

a magazine article taking an insightful look at the underworld inhabited by street people

Recent Examples on the Web

This episode committedly riffed on that idea as the Ghost Nation fashioned stories about the underworld, its denizens, and the promised land beyond their own. The Atlantic, "Westworld: Ghost Nation, Revealed," 10 June 2018 Their idyll is interrupted when a feral and mysterious 14-year-old girl shoots their cattle dead, sending Wyatt Smith into Utah's hyper-violent crime underworld to find her. refinery29.com, "How Rae DelBianco Went From Cattle Farmer To Bookstagram Queen To Literary Darling — All By 25," 13 July 2018 The incident came after an associate of the family was shot last August in a hit that police suspect was organized by an underworld figure now serving time in prison. Lucie Morris-marr, CNN, "Melbourne grenade attack signals gang trouble in 'world's best city'," 22 May 2018 In a time of moral panic, some saw pinball as a gateway drug that would inevitably lure kids into a seedy criminal underworld. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "The First Family of pinball: Meet the local wizards behind the game's huge resurgence," 3 May 2018 Don Berna made a mockery of the process, using it as cover to strengthen his control of the city’s underworld. Steven Cohen, The New Republic, "Why Colombia Keeps Electing Presidents Tied to Murderers," 18 June 2018 But secretly, the hire was intended to telegraph to the underworld that Moscatiello’s new boss, Adam Kidan, was protected by the Gambino crime family, according to trial testimony. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "New trial ordered for convicted killer in Gus Boulis murder," 7 June 2018 Steve Brown thought his grandfather’s wedding ring was gone forever, lost to the underworld of Philadelphia’s sewer system. Anna Orso, Philly.com, "What happened after this man's wedding ring fell in a Philly sidewalk grate," 4 June 2018 Owing to that cosmic error, a gate to the underworld left ajar, Ada’s personhood is at best an elaborate compromise, her selfhood an unpersuasive myth, her gendering a cruel and clumsy mistake. David Wright, The Seattle Times, "‘Freshwater’: a bewitching tale of gods and a girl coming of age," 20 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underworld.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of underworld

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Phrases Related to underworld

the underworld

Statistics for underworld

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for underworld

The first known use of underworld was in 1598

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English Language Learners Definition of underworld

: the world of crime and criminals

the underworld : the place where dead people go in Greek myths


un·der·world | \ ˈən-dər-ˌwərld \

Kids Definition of underworld

: the world of crime

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Comments on underworld

What made you want to look up underworld? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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